R-P School Board kick-starts year with organizational meeting

By : 
SCOTT BESTUL
NEWS LEADER

Three new members found their homes on the Rushford-Peterson School Board this week. In a special meeting held Monday, Jan. 7, Chris Grindland, Jeff Michel, and Kathy Wade took their places on the board and volunteered for committee assignments. All three newcomers were voted in during the November 2018 election and replaced outgoing board members Julie Koop, Dean Mierau and Jon Pettit. Incumbent Joyce Iverson sought to retain her seat in November, ran unopposed, and will enjoy another term.

Organizing for 2019

The first item on the night’s agenda was the election of officers. This was a pretty ho-hum affair, as Chairman John Linder, Vice-chair Joyce Iverson, Treasurer Valerie Howe and Clerk Bonnie Prinsen were all nominated to retain their seats and were approved by their colleagues. Meeting dates were again set for the third Monday of each month, with the exception of January and February when, due to Martin Luther King and Presidents Days, they will occur on the 4th Monday of those months.

Salaries for board members were discussed and a chart comparing the annual salaries for R-P compared to those of area districts was examined. Though compensation for R-P board members ranked below at least 9 of the 11 area districts, board members voted to maintain the present compensation rates. Those are $1,000 for the R-P board chairman and $750 for each of the other officers. “I don’t think any of us is in this for the money,” said Iverson.

In other nuts-and-bolts business, the board approved the retention of the official banks, newspaper, legal counsel, and business manager/accounting duties for the district for 2019, which all mirrored those from 2018.

Committee assignments were as follows: Community Ed Advisory (Iverson, Wade), Facilities (Grindland, Prinsen, Iverson); Budget & Finance (Grindland, Howe); HVED (Howe); Insurance (Linder, Grindland, Michel); Legislative (Prinsen, Linder, Iverson); Meet & Confer (Prinsen, Linder); MSHSL (Prinsen); Negotiations (Grindland, Howe, Linder); Q-comp (Wade); R-P Foundation (Wade); School policies (Prinsen, Grindland, Iverson); Staff development (Howe); Technology (Howe); Transportation (Linder, Grindland, Michel); Wellness (Iverson); and Safety (Wade, Michel).

Middle school building update

During last month’s meeting, the board learned that the buyer of the Peterson Middle School site had reneged on his purchase agreement. Supt. Ehler informed the board that, while the official termination of the purchase agreement might take 30 days or more, they were free to advertise the site and move forward with its sale. Following this recommendation, the R-P school board voted (in a roll-call vote) unanimously to approve that the facilities committee proceed with this process.

Weiser Bros. payment

Supt. Ehler informed the board that Weiser Bros., general contractors for the R-P new school building, had been retained for $75,000 to insure that all projects and follow-up concerns for the construction had been satisfied. “”They’ve been amended for all projects but two, so we’re retaining the $25,000 until the remaining projects have been completed, and are recommending the payment of $50,000 at this time.” The board approved the payment of $50,000 to Weiser Bros.

Superintendent hiring

At least a portion of each of the last three board meetings has been devoted to the process of hiring a replacement for retiring Supt. Chuck Ehler. This meeting was no different, with the board discussing everything from the general timeline for reviewing applications, to specific questions that will be asked of applicants.

Though some details remained open to discussion, the application process agreed upon by the board looks like this:

Jan. 11: Applications for the position are due.

 Jan. 15-18: R-P school board members schedule times to view applications on an individual basis in the district office and take notes.

 Jan. 22: Special board meeting to select applicants to interview.

Jan. 28: Tentative regular monthly board meeting (to review interview protocol, etc.).

Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Candidate interviews (open to the public).

Feb. 7-8: Second interviews (if needed).

 Feb. 19: Special R-P board meeting to officially select finalist for superintendent position.

Schedule

The board voted to approve the scheduling of the next two meetings: Monday, Jan. 22: Special meeting to select candidates for R-P supt. interviews.  Monday, Jan. 28: Regular meeting of the R-P School Board.